Bristol Renaissance Faire

Bristol Renaissance Faire
The Bristol Renaissance Faire is an annual Renaissance festival held near the city of Kenosha, Wisconsin, United States. Founded in 1972, it is one of the longest-running Renaissance fairs in the country as well as the third largest. The festival runs over nine weekends in summer, attracting more than 200,000 attendees.

The Bristol Renaissance Faire was founded by a married couple named Richard and Bonnie Shapiro as King Richard’s Faire. It was a four-weekend event set in Renaissance England ruled by a fictional king. In 1988, the Shapiros sold the event to Renaissance Entertainment Corporation. The new owner re-branded the festival as the Bristol Renaissance Faire. Fictional King Richard was replaced by Queen Elizabeth I.

The Bristol Renaissance Faire recreates a visit of Queen Elizabeth I of England to the port city of Bristol in 1574. Since its re-branding, the fair has expanded its run from four to seven and then nine weekends. It opens in early July and runs through the Labor Day weekend.

The fair is held in a 30-acre Renaissance-themed park in the village of Bristol. It offers over a dozen stages of entertainment such as dancing, singing, traditional music, comedy, fire shows, acrobatic acts, and more. Naturally, the program includes Renaissance fair staples such as historical reenactments, jousting tournaments, and special services like henna tattoo, astrology, tarot reading, face and body painting, hair braiding, etc.

The fair also has a large marketplace where artisans of vendors offer all kinds of unique items, including arms and armor, artwork, candles and soaps, perfumes, clothing, costumes, accessories, eclectic handcrafts, footwear, furnishings, glasswork, jewelry, leather goods, metalware, musical instruments, books, pottery, toys, and more.

The main highlights of the Bristol Renaissance Faire include the Pub Crawl and the Kids Quest. The Pub Crawl is a tour of four pubs and taverns which provides an opportunity to choose from over 20 beers on tap, delicious mead and gluten-free cider. The Kids Quest is a 30-minute long adventure for children aged 4–10.

To keep visitors interested and make them want to return once more, the fair hosts theme weekends, for example, Salute to Uniforms & Scouts Weekend, Marketplace Bonus Ticket Weekend, Fantasy Weekend, Steampunk Invasion, Celtic Weekend, The Best of the Fest Weekend, Swashbuckler Weekend, etc.

Bristol Renaissance Faire

Photo: Michael Kappel




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